Brick Township residents will spend the first day of November cleaning up, drying out and hoping the power comes back on.
Meanwhile, some 70 township residents escaped the war-zone-like conditions on the barrier island as SWAT teams from the Brick Township and Lakewood Township police departments trekked on foot over the Mantoloking Bridge down to the burned-out Camp Osborn neighborhood to look for those needing to be evacuated.
According to Brick Police Sgt. Keith Reinhard, about 70 people were rescued from the barrier island Wednesday and taken to a transitional shelter. They will eventually be moved to a state-run shelter in Burlington County if they cannot find shelter with family members or friends.
Fortunately, Reinhard said, there were no reported injuries or fatalities from the barrier island.
Fires claimed between 50 and 60 homes in the Camp Osborn neighborhood and some small gas fires continue to burn, he said.
"We are in the process of assessing the damage and expect to have more accurate numbers in the near future," he said.
Access to the barrier island from Mantoloking to Seaside Park is banned indefinitely. The Mantoloking Bridge was considered unstable after it was inspected Wednesday.
The barrier island and sections of town on the mainland will be secured by township police and over 100 National Guard troops, Reinhard said.
As of the early morning hours Thursday, JCP&L was reporting 32,000 customers out of power township-wide.
The township will begin a more formal cleanup process on Thursday.
Brush and debris will be moved out of roadways, and disabled cars, boats, jet-skis and other vehicles will be removed and taken to a common impound yard. Officials will release retrieval information at a later time, said Reinhard.
After streets are cleared, crews will come by to cut up trees and remove them. Downed trees on private property are the responsibility of the property owner, though residents can put trees and branches to the curb and they will be removed.
“We cannot go on private property to assist with tree removal,” said Reinhard.
Township officials said the cleanup effort will be lengthy, and residents may hear equipment working 24 hours a day.
Trash, Recycling Collection
Curbside trash and recycling collection has been suspended until further notice, township officials said. Dumpsters will be placed at Brick Memorial High School, theVeterans Memorial complex, the Emma Haven/Drum Point complex and Brick Township High School.
The dumpsters will accept household waste only, not bulk items or brush.
The township recycling center on Ridge Road will reopen Thursday and stay open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and customers can drop off items such as bulk items, metals, storm related debris -including construction materials and brush – there.
Long Term Recovery
Reinhard said Wednesday night that a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) office will eventually be established at Civic Plaza on Chambers Bridge Road.
For those residents who need to rebuild homes or engage in construction, the township is in talks with its construction official to see which regulations can be waived in light of the storm and which will remain mandatory.
With many residents asking how they can help first responders, the township advised them to help their neighbors clean their properties and, if necessary, help friends and neighbors with food and clothing donations.
Emergency management officials said the National Guard troops and reservists en route to Brick will manage relief efforts, and citizen volunteers are directly needed to assist with those efforts.